Lots of people were furious when Apple killed off the headphone jack in its latest iPhone, the iPhone 7. Many were happy about its replacement (a Lightning-enabled pair of EarPods) or its workaround (a dongle to connect your old headphones).
The MacBook Pro
Thankfully, Apple’s newest MacBook Pro laptops, which were unveiled last week, retain the old 3.5 mm headphone jack.
Of course, that begs the question:
Why did Apple kill the headphone jack in the iPhone, but not the MacBook Pro?
Phil Schiller, Apple’s marketing boss, was asked this question by The Independent this week. Here was his explanation:
“These are pro machines. If it was just about headphones then it doesn’t need to be there; we believe that wireless is a great solution for headphones. But many users have setups with studio monitors, amps, and other pro audio gear that do not have wireless solutions and need the 3.5mm jack.”
It’s a strange answer from Schiller, considering the fact that Apple’s newest MacBook Pros also lack an SD card slot, which is a nuisance for many pro photographers that still use SD cards for transferring tons of data from their high-end cameras. You’d think Schiller’s logic above would justify Apple keeping the SD card slot in the MacBook Pro — since so many pro photographers and users need it for their setups — and yet that doesn’t seem to be the case.
“Now, some people have asked why we would remove the analog headphone jack from the iPhone. The reason to move on really comes down to one word: courage. The courage to move on and do something new that betters all of us. Maintaining an ancient, single-purpose, analog connector doesn’t make sense because that space is at a premium. It makes no sense to tether ourselves with cables to our mobile devices. But until someone takes on these challenges, that’s what we do.”
Apple could have applied this same reasoning to ditching the headphone jack in the MacBooks — maybe it could’ve used a USB-C port or a Lightning port instead, but it didn’t. MacBooks are technically mobile devices, and yet, Schiller says it would’ve been a nuisance for customers. As if killing the headphone jack in the iPhone isn’t a nuisance for customers (as an iPhone 7 owner, I can tell you it is, but I accept it anyway.)
And so, whether you like it or not, that’s Apple’s reasoning for keeping the headphone jack in one product, but not another. Apple could have released a new MacBook Pro without a headphone jack, but that would’ve taken, y’know, courage.